(People raising a pitch for going to War probably forget that any conflict now in the sub-continent would be the last War for this entire region!)
It is an established fact of the world history that wars have never solved any problems but have on the contrary destroyed civilisations. The sub-continent has witnessed three major wars in last 70 years or so. All the three wars instead of solving any problems have rather created more of these and prevented all the countries in the region from becoming true welfare states. We have only succeeded in pushing more and more of our people below the poverty line by diverting our most precious resources for purchasing armaments to kill each other! As per global surveys we are the largest buyers of deadly weapons of all types manufactured by most of the so called developed countries. Their economies thrive on the sale of weapons to us for killing each other! Peace in the world means lesser jobs for their citizens employed in armament manufacture!
It is has been observed that in most cases the war frenzy is fanned by some media groups. The war like situation and the feeling of enmity too has always been basically fanned by them. Whether it is the Kargil War, the Parliament attack or the Mumbai assaults, the fuel to the fire has always been added by the media especially the electronic one. On the other side too, Jihad to liberate Kashmir or to establish an Islamic State is promoted by the media. There are war mongers and the peaceniks. There have been many attempts by the peaceniks to start a dialogue for peace. For past sometime, there have been many initiatives from the Civil Society to start a process for ushering in peace in the sub-continent. However, the process has been awfully slow and has always been derailed by the Warmongers who appear to be much stronger than the Peaceniks. The reason for this is that the Peaceniks do not have any substantial material interests other than bringing peace to this troubled land teeming with millions of deprived human beings. They aspire to live a life of peace with honour and care for the down trodden. On the contrary, the Warmongers have immense material interests in the continuation of hostilities. In fact, these people have a global reach as well as committed agents in all conflict areas. In a number of cases, they themselves create the conflict situations.
The main problem with Peaceniks is their elitist approach. Lighting candles at the border and discussing problems in five star hotels are symbolic gestures which fail to reach their biggest constituency. The Peaceniks main resource is the common people on both sides of the divide. Most of them want peace and the basic amenities for a decent living. This constituency if tapped intelligently can virtually move the mountains. However, to energise and move the constituency of peace one requires a charismatic leader. For a long time one has not seen a peace loving charismatic leader in the sub-continent. The present day political leaders are in the field for money or power or both. Hardly anyone stands for the common people. Politics has become a lucrative and a dynastic business dominated by virtual mafia dons! Honest, sincere, and peace loving people are rare to find.
While as the Peaceniks have to wait for a Gandhi to take rebirth, the Warmongers are busy reaping a rich harvest in the meantime. They have tremendous resources and access to the people wielding the levers of political power everywhere. Global sales of newer and lethal weapons are growing by leaps and bounds. The market is already in excess of a thousand billion dollars of which the Americans’ share is almost the half. The greatest Warmonger in history has been USA.
The major chunk of the budgets of both the countries in the sub-continent is eaten up by their defence outlays. The social services and poverty alleviation get the least part of the budget, thanks to Warmongers. Added to this are the Weapons of Mass Destruction foolishly having been prepared by both sides without even thinking that the use of these will mean the ultimate end of civilisation in this part of the world. Somehow they seem to be enamoured by the prospect of Mutually Assured Destruction. Even some Generals have been speaking of a cold start which in other words means surgical strikes under the threat of nuclear overhang. How can people be so naïve? Has any conflict in the sub-continent remained limited or confined? There are enough mad people to push the button when it comes to that and especially on the other side in the prevailing situation of free for all! Incidentally, quite a few former Generals are working as liaison officers of arms manufacturers for substantially fat salaries. The business of conflict has so many beneficiaries and vested interests that it is virtually impossible for the Peaceniks to make a dent in this global set up.
The recent episode at Lethpora, Pulwama put the entire sub-continent on Red Alert. One thought that the nuclear war was minutes away! Here, it may be mentioned that the most of the war frenzy had been created by some anchors of the electronic media truly confirming the saying, “Those who are furthest away from the battleground, cry the loudest for war.” However, the situation got somewhat diffused after the crash of an Indian Airforce Fighter Jet and the safe return of the captured pilot. While returning the pilot an offer of dialogue to sort out all basic political issues has been made by the other side.Common sense demands that the offer be accepted and a comprehensive dialogue to sort out all issues be started. The sooner it is done better it would be not only for the sub-continent but entire South Asia and the rest of the world. Let us hope and pray good sense prevails!
Mohammad Ashraf, I.A.S. (Retired)(Former Director General Tourism, Jammu & Kashmir)